Saturday, December 17, 2016

Disney Daze - Part Five

Do you see what I see? (Do you see what I see?)  
It's a post, a post, another friggin' post 
As Dave-El and his family spend a week
In the Friggin' Happiest Friggin' Place On Friggin' Earth...

Part Five 

Thursday, December 8th found the El family exploring the wilds of Disney’s Animal Kingdom. But first, CARS!

As I noted in Part One on Tuesday, our car's check engine light came on as we made our way into Orlando FL mere minutes away from Disney. Driving around Greensboro NC, I’m perfectly willing to let an engine check light go for a while before getting it checked out. I won’t ignore it forever but unless its belching brimstone or emitting the baleful groans of the cursed undead, I figure I can wait until I can get it looked into on my time. But I knew in a matter of a few days, we would be making the trek from Orlando FL back to Greensboro NC and the Fortress of Ineptitude which is journey of several hours and hundreds of miles. I didn’t want to take any unnecessary risks on a trip like that, especially with a nearly 14 year old car, no matter how good a shape it’s in otherwise.

It turns out that Disney has a car care center near the Magic Kingdom. So I got up early Thursday morning to have the car checked out. I plugged in the address to the GPS on my phone to make sure I didn’t get lost.

I’m making my way up the drive towards the Magic Kingdom and off to the left I see the Disney Car Care Center. OK, I found it and without the GPS. Except my GPS had other ideas.

GPS: Ahead one mile, then turn right.

Wait! What?

GPS: Ahead one mile, then turn right.

But the car place was right there, on the left. And there’s a turn I can make.

I read a story once about a German driver who drove his car into the side of a building because his GPS told him to. When asked why he did that, he said he was just following orders. Oh, those dang Germans and their following orders!

Yeah. So I’m the German guy.

Look, there have been at least 2 times in my life where I thought I knew better than the GPS only to wind of going way out of my way and getting hopelessly turned around. Yes, the car center was right there on the left but maybe there was something I didn’t see? I don’t know. I’m in Florida! So I obeyed the GPS.

One mile later, I turned right.

GPS: In one quarter mile, turn right a bit, then turn left.

Turn right a bit? A BIT? Who’s programming these directions, my dear departed dad? He was always being really vague with his directions: a little, some, a smidge, a handful, a bunch, somewhere over there.

Turn right a bit?

OK, so it seems there was a lane that kind of veered off towards the right that then connected to a street that I was to turn left on.

GPS: In one half mile, turn right.

Right again? I seem to moving further and further away from the car care center. But I shall follow orders. Right it is!

GPS: In one quarter mile, turn a little bit left, then turn left some more.

Has my GPS  been drinking?

GPS: Proceed for 400 feet, then turn left.


GPS: Proceed one half mile and turn right. You will be at your destination.

And by golly, I did arrive at my destination: the same Disney Car Care Center I saw about 3 miles and 5 minutes ago.

Why, oh why GPS did thoust forsake me so? I trusted you! I TRUSTED YOU!!!

Heavy sigh.

So Car Guy did a check of the car and here’s how that went down.

Car Guy: We found the source of the check engine light.

Me: That’s good?

Car Guy: It’s the catalytic converter.

Me: And that’s…?

Car Guy: Bad because that’s very expensive to fix.

Me: Uh oh!

Car Guy: But it actually doesn’t need to be fixed right now.

Me: Oh?

Car Guy: Yes, the car would be fine for the trip back to Greensboro and you can have it fixed then. 

Me: OK, no problems! Yay, the magic of Disney! I’m out of-

Car Guy: Well, there is a problem.

Me: What?

Car Guy: You’ve got some bad leaks in your radiator hose. Coolant is almost down to nothing. The car would likely overheat on the way back.

Me: Even I know that’s bad.

So the irony is that the check engine light went off due to a problem that is not an immediate crisis but it led to the discovery of a very real potential crisis.

Yes, the repair was expensive but not catalytic converter expensive. Look, you look for your bright spots where you can find them.

I left the car to be repaired while a driver took me to the transportation center where I hopped the monorail to EPCOT and then a bus back the Caribbean Beach Resort. By the way, I had the bus ALL to myself. SWEET!

Next…WAFFLES! We’ve learned how to defend ourselves against the onslaught of the Random Cheerleader Zombies by now so that experience is going smoother.

Then it’s on the Animal Kingdom bus and we’re off!

It may be easy to dismiss Animal Kingdom as just a zoo with Mickey Mouse faces slapped on everything. But there is stuff to see and do beyond just looking at animals. And even the “just looking at animals” part is pretty cool.

One thing we had wanted to do but did not have the time was to see The Legend of the Lion King, an African themed music and dance performance. We saw it in previous visits and it’s a very entertaining experience.

We did make our way to the Khali River Rapids ride which is a boisterous excursion down a twisting section of river dotted with sharp turns and plunging falls. It is a fun adventure where you will get wet although Randie and I did get on it a 2nd time because we felt like we didn’t quite get wet enough the 1st time.

There’s a safari ride in a jeep/truck with shock absorbers replaced with bounce inducers. It is not an easy ride on the tail bone but it does provide a very close up view of several exotic creatures.

There are two nature trails, one in the Asia section of Animal Kingdom and the other in Africa that also provide some really good views of different kinds of animals. 

A favorite show at Animal Kingdom is Flights of Wonder, an approximately half hour presentation with some astonishingly beautiful and well trained birds. 

At the heart of Animal Kingdom is the big honking TREE OF LIFE!!!! Every home should have one in their front yard. 

Our dining experience in the Animal Kingdom was a restaurant called The Yak and Yeti which was an Asian restaurant. Meaning...? 

As my daughter Randie asked, "Where exactly are we eating? What are we eating?" 

Basically, they served a wide range of dishes from different parts of Asia. My wife Andrea had a Japanese steak and shrimp dish while I had a Korean beef entree. Randie had a chicken dish from India. It was probably the most exotic meals any of us had ever eaten.  

For dessert, Andrea and Randie had New York cheesecake which is really big in Nepal, I guess. I had a pineapple upside down cake with ice cream which I think is very big in Thailand or something. 

We actually left Animal Kingdom at 7:00 PM which is our earliest departure from a Disney theme park that week. The plan was to get back to our room, chill a bit and did hope a bus for Disney Springs (formerly Downtown Disney) to see Moana again. The idea of seeing a Disney movie in Disney World seemed like a lot of fun. But believe it or not, finding show times for a Disney movie in a Disney World place is not that easy. 

And the exertions of the week had caught up to us as we settled in and crashed. Our time at Disney had been fun but exhausting. 

Still, we had another day to go. But that's for tomorrow's post.

Going live today at 5 PM Eastern Time US, it's a post on political shenanigans but not on the national level. No, this crap is happening in my own backyard. 

And a follow up post goes up 12 hours after that as the Disney adventures continues! The check engine light strikes in a most unusual way and the family goes Hollywood! Disney Daze - Part 6 on Sunday at 5 AM Eastern Time US.

Until next time, remember to be good to one another. 

MUSICALS AWAY! Mamma Mia! AND Moulin Rouge!

It was a MUSICALS weekend at the Fortress of Ineptitude as the family gathered to watch two movie musicals this weekend. Both movies were ...